Thesis: The fast food industry is entirely unhealthy, disintegrating not only our health but also many other things, including our morals and expectations.
I. The fast food industry provides the world with food that is diminishing our health.
a. Restaurants not required to provide nutritional info b. Restaurant secrets revealed
c. Proportion sizes and names change
II. David Kessler plays a big role in reconstruction of the FDA.
d. Kessler’s role with the FDA
e. Kessler’s background
III. Misleading labels lead to removal.
f. Kessler fights ‘fresh’ labels
g. Kessler fights ‘cholesterol free’ labels
IV. The overeating epidemic greatly affects Americans.
h. Overeating epidemic explained
i. More calories means more weight gain
j. Availability and entertainment
The Fast Food Dependency
The fast food industry is entirely unhealthy, disintegrating not only our health but also many other things, including our morals and expectations. Little do people know that the simple hamburger they are eating from a local fast-food restaurant actually contains the beef of thousands of different cows, as Eric Schlosser points out in Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. In fact, it seems that the public knows very little about the fast-food industry or the FDA at all. While the health movement has swept over America, people care more about the carbohydrates and calories in their meals than they do about the quality of, not only the food itself, but also the people who made such a quick meal possible. The legislation SB 120 died on the desk of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, on October 15, 2007. The bill would have required restaurants to provide the nutritional information of the food items on their menu. Simply put, this bill would have made it law that fast food chains inform us on what exactly we are eating. Calling SB 120 a “feel-good Band-Aid”, the California Restaurant Association believed that the bill didn’t bring forth the true causes of obesity (Zinczenko, Goulding, and Murrow 110).
Introduction The food and beverage processing industry, the largest manufacturing industry in Canada, is an important industry to the Canadian economy. In fact, Canada not only has a great deal of natural resources, including abundant water and most incomparable rich soil, but also possesses two accumulated advantages, involving long history and experience with food and beverage processing ...
Providing over one-third of every restaurant meal, according to the New York Department of Health, many chains try their absolute hardest to obscure their nutritional information and hide what exactly is going on within their food (Zinczenko, Goulding, and Murrow 111).
“The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 actually absolves restaurants of all nutritional liability to the American public” (Zinczenko, Goulding, and Murrow 111).
Underneath this bill, restaurants are not required to share any sort of nutritional information of their products with the public. Many restaurants have very good reasons for keeping their information buried. The only nutritional information that the Outback Steakhouse is willing to cough up is for their Tangy Tomato Dressing. An unnamed spokesperson for the company claimed, “Ninety percent of our meals are prepared by hand. Any analysis would be difficult to measure consistently” (Zinczenko, Goulding, and Murrow 111).
Even some restaurants that claim to have healthier low-fat options, such as Applebee’s, fail to mention the other nutritional information of their items, an example being their low-fat chicken quesadillas, which also happen to have 742 calories on top of the 90 grams of carbohydrates that come with every order (Zinczenko, Goulding, and Murrow 112).
This essay will discuss the proposal of opening a fast-food restaurant nearby the university campus. Background: the absence of fast-food restaurant nearby the university, which is aimed at students as the main customer target, can be viewed as a possibility of opening one. The prospects of future development and generating a decent amount of revenue for further expansion of services are quite ...
IHOP’s nutritional value is so pitiful, the director of communications even stated, “We do not maintain nutritional data on our menu items, so I am unable to assist you” (Zinczenko, Goulding, and Murrow 112).
However, after completely eating an Omelette Feast, 150 percent of one person’s daily fat requirement, 300 percent of one person’s suggested cholesterol intake, as well as 1,335 calories and 35 grams of saturated fat have all been swallowed. Even more disturbing is the information that has been dug up from Panera Bread. The synthetic food colorings in their pastries have been linked to numerous side effects such as irritability, restlessness, and even sleep disturbance in children (Zinczenko, Goulding, and Murrow 112).
Simply stating, fast food does not only affect ones weight, but can be extremely more harmful. Slightly more interesting is the fact that sit-down chain restaurants offer food that is considerably worse than from a fast food restaurant. An analysis of 24 different sit-down restaurants uncovered that the average entrée contains 867 calories, while a fast food restaurant measures in at about 522 (Zinczenko, Goulding, and Murrow 113).
A simple way to easily double this calorie intake is by “going large”, something that was once known as Supersizing. Fast food purveyors were ordered in 2001 by the U.S. Surgeon General to decrease portion sizes. Nicknames such as “supersizing” were dropped and replaced simply with “large”. However, on each meal size upgrade, an average of “55 percent more calories for 17 percent more money” is being consumed (Zinczenko, Goulding, and Murrow 113).
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has practically transformed from being marked with lax enforcement and ludicrous scandals into a protector of America’s health and safety (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
A major help with this turnaround was David A. Kessler, an administrator who took office on February 25, 1991, and within a few months had ordered misleading information to be removed from food labels. Kessler worked to improved functions of the FDA such as investigation and enforcement, as well as bring back the morale of the agency in the wake of a bribery scandal (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
Genetically-modified foods (GM foods) have made a big splash in the news lately. European environmental organizations and public interest groups have been actively protesting against GM foods for months, and recent controversial studies about the effects of genetically-modified corn pollen on monarch butterfly caterpillars1, 2 have brought the issue of genetic engineering to the forefront of the ...
The FDA has 8,000 employees, an annual budget of about $690 million, as well as the responsibility for the “safety and effectiveness of approximately one-quarter of the nation’s gross national product” (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
Kessler is a doctor, a lawyer, completed his third year of law and medical school at Harvard University as of 1991, and as such, is seen as the perfect candidate for the head of the agency (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
While a under pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Kessler worked as a congressional staff member in food and drug legislation. Three months after Kessler became the head of the FDA, a report was issued by an advisory panel to the United States Department of Health and Human Services claiming that the agency did not have enough funding, did not have enough workers, and was overwhelmed by its mandate (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
David Kessler was born on May 13, 1951 to a jewelry manufacturer and a school psychologist. He studied at Harvard University for two years before attending University of Chicago for two years. Kessler received his law degree in 1978, his medical degree in 1979, and his license to practice medicine in 1982.
Kessler worked nights at Johns Hopkins Hospital so that he could work under Senator Orrin G. Harris, chairman of the Labor and Human Resources Committee, as a consultant on food and drug legislation (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
Kessler became the director of medicine at the Jack D. Weiler Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine-Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York in 1984 (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
Kessler became untrusting of the Food and Drug Administration in the late 1980s. He disapproved how they allowed manufacturers to print dubious claims on product labels. Kessler wrote of his disapproval in his article, “The Federal Regulation of Food Labeling: Promoting Foods to Prevent Disease.” He wrote, “Perhaps the most important aspect of a sound food-labeling policy is the need to maintain the creditability of the information on the label. Consumers have come to accept a certain amount of puffery in advertising, but not necessarily on their food labels (“The Overeating Epidemic”).” Department of Health and Human Services secretary Louis Sullivan selected David Kessler as the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration on September 12, 1990. On October 27, 1990, Kessler was confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn into office on February 25, 1991.
The Importance of Food Labeling It’s Important that food producers label foods so that people can choose to avoid irradiated or genetically modified food. Also, food labeling is crucial to people with certain food allergies. Some foods are irradiated to clear foods of food-borne diseases and provide support for unsafe factory farming practices. When food is genetically modified the food is ...
Kessler first worked on restoring agency morale. He was in his office from sun up to sun down, working on “his promise of strict enforcement of FDA regulations” (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
With increased funding from Congress, Kessler assembled 100 investigators to pursue fraud, as well as pressed congress to allow the investigators access to subpoena records and “to impose civil penalties against companies in cases where criminal sanctions were unattainable” (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
The campaign first gained media attention when 24,000 gallons of Citrus Hill Fresh Choice orange juice was seized by United States marshals from a warehouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
It was seized due the manufacturer, Procter and Gamble, had claimed the juice made from concentrate was “fresh” on the label. Several days later, Ragu also had to remove the word “fresh” from its packaging because the product is actually heat-processed. Both companies, as well as several other smaller manufacturers quickly gave in to the FDA ruling. Kessler explained, “Enforcement is not an end in itself. It is only a tool Yes, it sends a signal.
The issue of ‘fresh’ had become a litmus test of the agency’s ability to enforce the statute. But the ultimate goal of enforcement is public health” (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
Next on Kessler’s list was vegetable oils who claimed to have “no-cholesterol.” Although corn oil and other vegetable-based cooking oils are technically correct in being labeled as cholesterol free as it is only found in foods from animals, the labels also implied that the oil was a healthy addition to one’s diet, even though it is 100 percent fat. The labels were pronounced by Kessler as misleading when an FDA survey showed that 40 percent of shoppers believed products with no cholesterol in them to also be low in fat. Manufacturers removed the product labeling when Kessler ordered so on May 14, 1991. Many manufacturers caught on to Kessler’s antics and simply removed the labels before they were ordered to. To the public, many food-industry executives promoted and welcomed the FDA’s labeling guidance. However, in private, many disapproved of Kessler’s refurbishing of the FDA’s image at their expense (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
The 5/20 rule is a healthy formula that an individual can follow to make sure that they are receiving the proper daily percentage in a serving. The 5/20 rule is making sure that if a serving of a particular nutrient is within an individual’s particular need. An example would be I am watching my saturated fat intake and carbohydrates. I have an 18 ounce jar of Jif Omega-3 peanut butter. There are ...
Soon Kessler went after other forms of confusing nutritional information with packages claiming to have very little fat. “A package that says it is 97 percent fat-free but has 50 percent of its calories from fat is misleading. The ones that are the most misleading are the ones with the highest liquid content. This is a marketing gimmick, and I’d like to see all of them gone,” said Kessler (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
“Before I came to this agency, I did not carry around in my head that an appropriate daily intake on a 2,300-calorie diet was seventy-five grams of fat or that twenty-five grams of saturated fat was in the ballpark. I didn’t have any comparisons, so the information on the nutrition panel was useless. I think if we would get this information on the label this will be significant to a lot of people. The label is the most important form of nutritional education.” The Nutrition Education and Labeling Act of 1990, which excludes fresh meats, charge the FDA with standardizing food labeling by May of 1993 (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
The act also will not affect advertising claims, “which are covered by Federal Trade Commission guidelines”, but does require many new nutrition labels on packaged goods (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
The Nutrition Education and Labeling Act of 1990 was the most far-reaching attempt of government to take a handle and police the food supply since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. In June of 1991, Louis Sullivan approved Kessler’s “proposals for a decentralization of authority and new procedures for monitoring the agency’s performance” (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
This involved combining twenty-three department heads into five positions. Kessler appointed Michael R. Taylor as deputy commissioner with the duty of reducing the backlog of proposed regulations while also streamlining the procedure of proposing, writing, and issuing regulations. His overall goal was to bring in qualified scientists, who had to be lured from well-paid positions in private industry. “I don’t have salaries. I don’t have space. The only thing I have is convincing people of the importance of this agency,” said Taylor (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
The first and probably most important area on the topic of globalisation and food is the issue of food policy and food security. It is believed that the vast inequalities between the rich and the poor of this world have strong links to way both developing and developed countries manage, or are forced to manage, their food resources. Two documents are of particular interest to the debate as to what ...
Due to Kessler’s unimaginable success at the FDA, he has become target for gibes from both political cartoonists and comedians, even being poked fun of by none other than Jay Leno.
“I knew the FDA had hit the big time when Leno included us in his monologue,” Kessler said (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
The obesity epidemic in America is largely that of an overeating epidemic. Americans’ weight has not swollen in over 30 years according to the European Congress on Obesity based the belief that “we’ve become couch potatoes” (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
However, Boyd Swinburn, M.D., and his team of researchers at Deakin University in Australia, believe that the American obesity epidemic is largely due to our constant munching. Swinburn and his team compared the diet of an average U.S. citizen today with that from the 1970s (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
They used the collected numbers to predict average weight gain. In children, the predicted weight gain matched exactly. While adults were expected to gain 23.8 pounds in the 30 year period, they actually clocked in at 18.9. “Weight gain in the American population seems to be virtually all explained by eating more calories,” said Swinburn (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
To get back the slim waistlines of the 1970s, some not so drastic measures would have to come into effect. People would have to consume at least 500 less calories a day (about one large hamburger) or exercise for an additional 110 minutes a day.
The main goal would be to diminish calorie intake. One of the main reasons people have been eating so much more than they did 30 years ago is that food is more available now. “It’s put on every corner and available 24/7. It’s become socially acceptable to eat anytime and anywhere. We’ve taken down all barriers,” said Kessler (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
Other countries, such as France, may have a rich diet, but they consume them during meals, not in the car or in the office. “We’ve made food entertainment in this country,” Kessler added (“The Overeating Epidemic”).
“Go into any food court and it’s a food carnival.” The fast food industry is entirely unhealthy, disintegrating not only our health but also many other things, including our morals and expectations. Even if all the fast food chains were to provide their nutritional information, it would not help to end America’s obesity epidemic. They find ways to hide information that needs to be known (like sugar, which can be listed as several different ingredients).
With people like Kessler fighting within the FDA to have the correct information brought out to the public, perhaps hope is still available. Until then, America’s dependency on fast food will only tighten, alongside our pants. A healthy nation can only be attainable through cutting out fast food all together. With such places such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s no longer available on every street corner, we all will be less prone to overeating, one of the other largest factors to America’s obesity. If the fast food industry were to be completely abandoned, a whole new market could have the potential of opening up: a market offering food with good nutritional value from an honest background. The overall health of the nation would increase. It would take a lot of time and a lot of effort, but eliminating the fast food industry is by far the most beneficial thing American’s could do for their country.
“The Overeating Epidemic.” Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter 23.6 Aug. 2009: 1-4. Print.
Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Boston: Houghton, 2001. Print.
Zinczenko, David, Matt Goulding, and Lauren Murrow. “16 SECRETS THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW.” Men’s Health 23.1 Jan/Feb. 2008: 110-113. Print.